Grand County Backcountry: Trail of the Week
March 12, 2008
BACK 9 LOOPActivity – Backcountry Ski or SnowshoeLevel of Difficulty – 2 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)Round-trip Mileage – 3.26 milesRound-trip Touring Time – 2 hours Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 8094′, 4004’11N, 10553’47WAltitude at Highest Point (between points 2 & 3) – 8283’Trail Fee Required – NoDogs Permitted with Leash and/or controlled at all timesTrailhead Location – On US Hwy 40 from the town of Granby, head south. Between mile markers 214 and 215 is the entrance to Granby Ranch on the left (east). Turn at the Granby Ranch entrance onto Village Road. Take Village Road for .5 miles and then turn left onto the unmarked road. Follow this road for .9 miles. At the intersection, turn right and take this road (unmarked CR 894) for 1.5 miles to the trailhead on the right (1). Parking is available .2 miles further on this road at the Headwaters Golf Course parking lot. Tour Description – The trailhead sign (1) shows that the Back 9 Loop and Pete’s Way traverse up the hill. This trail is groomed weekly, however it may not coincide with recent snowfall or drifting, so the level of difficulty to follow the trail will vary. Climb to the crest of the hill and view the snow covered golf course ahead along with the Sol Vista Ski Area in the background. The Back 9 Loop and golf course sits in a basin surrounded by hills and peaks. Beyond the ski area are views of the Vasquez Mountains and on the right (west) is an interesting cliff formation. The trail bears right (west) before the bridge and shed and leads to a trail sign and intersection (2). The sign indicates the Back 9 Loop to the right. Turn right and continue to head south toward the ski area. Pass several bird houses and follow the gently rolling terrain. Come to a sign signifying Hole 13 to the right and Hole 17 to the left (3). Head right (south) and approach the homes along the golf course. The next trail sign again identifies the Back 9 Loop (4). Turn left and head south. The mountains along the Continental Divide and Rocky Mountain National Park are visible to the north above the hills. Parallel the road beside the course and then return to the intersection (3). Turn right and follow the trail back to the trailhead (2).Backcountry Tip of the Week – Always protect against snow blindness and sunburn. The sun’s rays are much more intense at higher elevations and the reflection off the snow increases the intensity. Snow blindness occurs when the eyes become sunburned. Symptoms may not occur for 8 hours. Prevent snow blindness by wearing goggles or sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Leather side shields on sunglasses are a great idea. Protect exposed skin from the sun’s rays by wearing plenty of sunscreen and lip balm.More trails and information are available in Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing in Grand County, Colorado. The book is available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our website at http://backcountrybound.home.mindspring.com/. This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (www.headwaterstrails.com), who works to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.